27th Feb. In fact a Coca Cola took the place of the Golden Plover, but the Oriental Chicken was very nice at The Cannon Inn, Earsdon before taking a walk down at Holywell with a past work colleague and friend of mine.
It was a dull and wet Monday, but such circumstances are not all bad, as it meant few people were about. A visit to the pond brought Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Canada Geese, two Shelduck, Mallard, four Gadwall, growing numbers of Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Moorhen, and Coot. No wind today meant a few more birds on the water, but worryingly still these numbers seem well down from previous winters.
Patience at the feeding station meant that several Tree Sparows were eventually seen here and in the hedge and at last a Brambling this winter. It was the female bird. Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Greenfinch were also frequenting the station. As we moved off a Song Thrush sang from the top of the trees. I may have commented on this before, but over recent years I have seen an apparent increase in Song Thrush numbers following the long steady decline. I feel that numbers have been hit badly again by the past two freezing winters and I have seen very few Song Thrushes over the past twelve months. It was good to listen to this one on full song. From the public hide a small flock of Lapwing were on the shore along with Black Headed and Common Gulls and one lone Pied Wagtail fed at the edge of the pond.
The avenue held nothing of note. I did comment that I hoped we would find the Dipper today and no sooner had I said this and we found it standing on its favoured rock. We watched it for sometime. On the return journey we found it again, but this time to flew off quite quickly, not to be seen again. I’ve only seen a single bird so far this year, but hope it is to be another successful breeding year. There’s much disturbance in this particular area so it will never be easy for these birds.
We took the path north of the burn on the outward walk and returned by the higher south path at which point we found at least three Roe Deer slowly moving eastwards. Birds of note included a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Long Tailed Tit amongst other woodland species. Drumming was heard from the woodpeckers. A skein of geese flew overhead and I am quite certain that they were Pink-footed Geese.
All in all it had been a very pleasant walk in good company. It’s not that often I take the higher path south of the burn, but it does give a very different perspective of the area, and the view down the burn is very good at this time of year. The afternoon stroll brought forty-one species, the Brambling being a year tick. This is perhaps my favourite winter visitor. I don’t think my friend had knowingly seen either Brambling or Tree Sparrows before, so I think she had enjoyed the walk too.